We thought we knew, but we really didn’t.
We knew that Colorado State had only one loss so far this season. We knew about their Callahan nominee, #7 Paige Applegate, a 4th year player for the team. We knew the high likelihood that they would win all their games today. What we didn’t know was the level of their legitimacy. But now we know.
Colorado State Hell’s Belles went 3-0 today, defeating Wisconsin-Eau Claire 16-5, Texas-Arlington 17-5, and Cal-Berkeley 13-3, for a combined total score of 46-13 against their opponents.
This season, they’ve managed to add some quality, experienced players: #47 Becca Miller, from Iowa State (ISU’s 2013 Callahan nominee) and the 2013 USA U23 Mixed National team, and the impressive #32 Christy Cheung, a handler from Kansas Betty. On top of that, they have other solid players including #2 Tessa Bahnke and their rapidly improving sophomore class. With their top-end talent, Hell’s Belles proved they have the ability to beat their defenders in open space and throw a mix of man and zone defenses to generate turns and convert them into breaks.
On offense, they utilized quick handler movement, especially when Cheung was behind the disc. Colorado State has cutting depth, so their downfield didn’t run completely through Miller. However, she convincingly added a dimension of strength to their flow, and was able to get open willingly whenever it was her turn in the horizontal stack. In addition, she added fantastic defensive plays, including one jaw-dropping one where her woman was isolated in the endzone and was thrown a pass to the break side. Miller got completely horizontal, chest-high for the defensive stop and caught the goal for the bookends.
Unfortunately, this weekend we won’t be able to see them match up against the DI tier, but based on what they’ve shown so far, there is no doubt that they could have easily taken one of the spots in the championship bracket quarterfinals. We’ll have to wait to see if they can grab a third bid to Nationals for the South Central region.
Dominant Play and Close Calls
Rice University also had a dominant day, going 4-0 and moving up into the 17th place bracket after beating Northwestern 13-7 in pre-quarters. They have a lot of height and strong players, including handlers Maya Stokes, Nichole Kwee, Monica Matsumoto, and cutter Erica Danckers. Their solid fundamentals have been helping them retain the disc, while their height and athleticism generated lots of possessions.
Texas State versus Arizona State proved to be a close matchup. It was back and forth at the beginning, with ASU Caliente taking half 7-5. Texas State Trainwreck came back, and went up 9-8. The game began to take its toll on the understaffed Texas State, and after going up 9-8, they put on a rookie line to give their veterans a break. The Trainwreck rookies had a redzone opportunity to score, but didn’t convert. ASU tied the game at 9-9, and pulled to Texas State on double-game point. Texas State turned the disc and ASU quickly scored to win 10-9.
Colorado State and Rice were the only 2 Division-III teams to advance to the 17th place bracket. Arizona State had a brilliant prequarters game against Minnesota. They took half 7-6, and stayed in the lead throughout most of it. However, Minnesota tied it at 9s and broke to take the lead 10-9. They traded points to the point cap, and Minnesota won 12-11.
Centex Division-III MVP: Becca Miller. She uses her speed very effectively, never running just to run, but always running with a purpose. She was successful on both the throwing and receiving end of the disc and played superb defense.
Notable Players: Rosa Franklin (ASU), Paige Applegate (Colorado State), Jerry Benavidez (Texas State), Maya Stokes (Rice).